Behind the scenes: driving the Air Force mission

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Mariette Adams
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
One Air Mobility Command (AMC) aircraft departs every two-and-a-half minutes, every day, 365 days a year to provide airlift and airpower to every corner of the Earth. Behind the scenes, vehicle operations Airmen drive global mobility by moving cargo, equipment and personnel ensuring AMC's aircraft leave the ground on time.

For MacDill Air Force Base, Florida Airmen, moving inbound and outbound cargo is a detailed yet essential process. These Airmen pick up outbound cargo from material management where it is transferred to the outbound cargo section of the transportation management office. As for inbound cargo, vehicle operations Airmen deliver cargo that is ready for customers.

"Our documented cargo section moves millions of dollars' worth of parts every week, from priority mission capable parts to general parts, which maintenance uses on a daily basis," explained Tech. Sgt. Christopher Yarbrough, a vehicle operations supervisor with the 6th Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS).

He went on to state that vehicle operations support is essential because they transport the parts and equipment needed to fix aircraft.

Besides distributing supplies around the base, these Airmen also move heavy equipment ranging from metal barriers to vehicles used on the flightline.

"From exercises to everyday work, a majority of anything that is moved on this installation is moved by us," said Yarbrough.

For example, when barriers are needed on the flightline or elsewhere for an exercise or event, vehicle operations is there to transport and set them up. At times 1,800 or more barriers are strategically moved into location.

Beyond moving cargo, when it comes time to transporting aircrew and their gear, or escorting distinguished visitors (DVs), vehicle operators are there to support.

These Airmen take DVs to various locations throughout MacDill for appointments and meetings. At times, they will work from sunrise to sunset and can be on call at any time when the mission requires.

"Professionalism is key when it comes to driving for DVs," said Senior Airman Landon Adams, a vehicle operator with the 6th LRS. "We are often one of the first faces they see from the base. We play a vital role in getting personnel to their needed location and this ensures that the mission is completed in a timely and efficient manner."

At times military and civilian personal need government owned vehicles (GOVs) in order to accomplish their mission needs and vehicle operations is prepared with clean and maintained vehicles.

So, vehicle operators provide GOVs as well as certify and provide GOV licenses to the 6th Air Mobility Wing and combatant commands at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

Overall, vehicle operators provide mission essential equipment and support to ensure the mission is executed. Through training everyday as they conduct their daily missions, vehicle operators are ready when needed.

"As far as preparation, everyone here knows their job extremely well and is proficient," said Senior Airman Jessica Ziulkowski, a vehicle operator with the 6th LRS. "When it comes time to do our job or perform in an exercise, we work really well; not only as a shop but within the squadron."

Although they are behind the scenes, vehicle operations Airmen drive the Air Force mission and keep allow AMC to fuel the fight.